- Your mouth is a whole world in itself, which is why dentists often stress the need to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Data shows that around 1 in 4 people globally experience bad breath.
- There are certain common triggers for bad breath, but the best way to determine the cause is to visit a dentist.
Bad breath can be a nuisance, but for some people, chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a source of anxiety and impact their quality of life.
According to Medical News Today, bad breath affects an estimated 1 in 4 people globally.
While there are several possible causes of halitosis, the main culprit is usually poor oral hygiene or diet. We take a look at six possible reasons behind that breath odour.
1. Spicy, fragrant foods
Garlic, raw onions and spices are usually the common offenders of short-term bad breath.
Have you ever tried getting rid of ‘garlic breath’ by brushing your teeth but had no luck? That’s because your stomach absorbs oils from this food during digestion, which then pass into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, explains Healthline.
As a result, this causes an odour that others can notice in your breath for up to 72 hours or three days.
Smoking tobacco increases the chances of having gum disease, another source of bad breath, notes the Mayo Clinic.
It also dries out your mouth, worsening halitosis. This is because saliva helps keep your mouth clean and reduces odour by washing away harmful oral bacteria and food particles. One study also found that long-term smoking negatively affects the quality of saliva.
3. Drinking coffee
Who knew your daily cuppa Joe could be the reason behind your bad breath? Because coffee beans are roasted to bring out the aroma and flavour, the process causes sulphur-containing aroma compounds to form, explains Washington Dental Associates.
Unfortunately, these sulfuric compounds and the acid in coffee can cause bad breath.
Additionally, like smoking, drinking coffee can also cause dry mouth, leading to bad breath.
Best practices for brushing your teeth
4. Drinking alcohol
When you drink too much alcohol, your body goes into protective mode and treats the substance as a toxin, converting it to less harmful chemicals. About 90% of the alcohol you consume is converted to acetic acid, which can lead to bad breath following an alcohol binge, explains the Lake Pointe Dental Group. And the more often you drink, the longer halitosis will stick around, it adds.
5. Not brushing, flossing
If you neglect your oral health, including brushing your teeth (or brushing the correct way) and flossing regularly, harmful bacteria will invade your mouth and multiply out of control, says the Cleveland Clinic.
READ MORE | How to floss
As a result, this can lead to issues such as halitosis, cavities and gum disease. Brushing helps to remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth and causes odour. Flossing removes food particles and plaque in places your toothbrush can’t reach, such as between your teeth.
6. Problems with your teeth or gums
According to the National Health Service (NHS), problems with your teeth or gums, such as gum disease, holes in your teeth, or an infection, can all contribute to bad breath. This stresses the importance of visiting the dentist every few months for a dental cleaning.